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Puerto Rico begins hurricane recovery

Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Caitlyn Neal, staff writer

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Puerto Rico is beginning its recovery after being battered by two hurricanes earlier last month.

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, hit the island Sept. 6th, leaving nearly 900,000 people without electricity,  according to TIME.

Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm,  struck the island only two weeks later, on Sept. 20.

Eleven days after Maria, the island was left almost completely without power. According to New York Daily News, only a few of the island’s 63 hospitals were running on generators.

Now, food and clean water are running out for many, and medicines and gas are hard to come by. There is limited cell service, hampering attempts to contact family and friends.

Three people were killed during Irma. As of Oct. 3, the death count had risen to 34 from Maria, according to Sun Sentinel, and critics say the number could rise as aid is slow to arrive. Roads must be cleared of debris from Irma and Maria before aid can be spread throughout the island.

Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was already fragile before the hurricanes. According to The New York Times, Puerto Rico had the second worst murder rate in the nation, behind Washington D.C., in 2016. There is a 45 percent poverty rate, as well as a 10 percent unemployment rate. The Puerto Rican government also declared a form of bankruptcy in May 2017.

The U.S. government has sent the military to Puerto Rico with supplies, such as food and gasoline, to help aid relief efforts. More aid is set to arrive in the days to come, as roads are cleared, and airports and seaports open for business.

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Puerto Rico begins hurricane recovery